Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tomato, Fennel, Parsley

Hmm....looks like this is becoming a putting-off-the-readers-who-want-to-know-about-the-knitting-by-posting-photos blog.

Don't worry, troubled fans. I started a baby hat last night. Shouldn't be long now....but how come I can make an adult sized hat in bulky yarn in a night, but only get 1/3 of the way through a baby sized hat in sport weight?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Almost there....

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I'm almost done with mystery knitting. Soon I'll attach the buttons and send it off.

I've started the ruffles scarf I mentioned on Friday. It's too wide, and I'll be starting over.

I also plan to make a quick baby hat for a friend I'm seeing in the next week.

Then I'll have knitting progress to show, and this blog can once again be about knitting. Thank heavens for photographs!

Friday, July 27, 2007

ECF: Sailboats in the bay

Sailboats in the bay
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Another day with no knitting to show. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Easy Blogging Tips, part II: Photos & other slightly advanced topics

This is my second in a series to help new bloggers add bits of fanciness to their blogs. (Here is the first.) If you ever wondered, "How did they do that?" feel free to ask in the comments, and I'll try and answer, either here in this entry, or in a future article.

In this article, I cover how to add pictures to your blog, as well as create links to specific spots on your pages, make bulleted or numbered lists, and links that open in a new window.

To skip to a particular topic, click on the links below:

  • Pictures

    The first thing you need is a place where your pictures will be stored. For the purpose of example, I will use Flickr. There are many other sites which allow you to upload photos, many of them free.

    It is NOT NICE to link directly to someone's picture without their permission; doing so is referred to as being a "bandwidth hog". It puts a load on a server anytime someone views your page. If you put someone else's photo on your page, you are using their bandwidth to send that photo to your viewer, with no other indication that the photo is not yours. Don't be a bandwidth hog. If you want to use a photo, ask permission, then download it, and upload it to where you store your photos. Or link to the web page and not to the photo.

    Once you have uploaded photos to a place like that, you need to know the URL (web address) for the picture, and it should end in jpg or gif. (There are other extensions possible, but these are the most common.) You can test this by loading the URL in your web browser - all you should see is the image, without any text surrounding it. If you want to be sure, you can right-click over the image and select View Image. (This works in Firefox; I'm not 100% sure this is right for Internet Explorer, but it will be something similar.)

    Once you have the URL for the picture, it is easy to get it into your blog entry. You need to use the img tag, and a src attribute.

    So if I want to link to my TSF button in my Flickr account, I do the following.

    1. Go to the Flickr page for my button, which I've uploaded to Flickr.

    2. Right-click on the image and select "View Image".

    3. Copy the url that shows:

    4. Use that as the src attribute in an img tag.

    5. Here is the code that I use:
      <img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/167/422212214_4ac4545cd3.jpg?v=0">

      Looks like:

    You can modify the width or height of it by specifying the attributes width or height. You can specify both, but it will distort the picture exactly as you tell it, so it's best to specify at most one of width or height. If you use Flickr, you can see your photo in multiple sizes and it will give you the URL to use (see below).

  • Pictures with Flickr
    If you use Flickr, there is an easier way to get code to include your pictures. It is technically in the Flickr user policy that Flickr photos should be links back to the photo's page in Flickr. This way does it for you.

    1. Go to the photo's page.

    2. Click on "ALL SIZES" - it's just above the photo, under the name of the photo, between "BLOG THIS" and "ORDER PRINTS". This brings you to a page where the photo is shown in the original size (the size you uploaded).

    3. At the top is "Available sizes" and a list: square, thumbnail, small, medium, and Original. Click on them to see the various sizes.

    4. When you see the size you want, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Where it says "1. Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage", click in the text box and it should highlight the whole shebang. Copy (Control-C), and paste the code into your blog post.

    5. Note also that if you just want to get the url (say, for an img tag, as described above), this page also gives the url at "2. Grab the photo's URL".

  • Clickable Pictures

    Sometimes you want to have a photo be clickable - that is, the reader can click on your photo and go to another page. This is useful for buttons for KALs and such.

    A clickable picture is nothing more than an img tag inside an anchor tag. So to make my TSF button click away to The Harlot's page on TSF, I use this code:

    <a href="http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/tsffaq.html">
    <img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/167/422212214_4ac4545cd3.jpg?v=0">

    Which looks like:

  • Named Anchors.
    These are cool - I use them inside my Knitblog Lingo page. This is two parts - you know you want to be able to click to somewhere not at the top of a page. At that point, you put an anchor tag but instead of href, you use name="some_name_you_made_up". It is best if this name only has letters and _ in it. Then, where you want to be clickable, you use a regular anchor tag, but at the end of the url you tack on #some_name_you_made_up.

    Example of an anchor tag; it is what is on KAL on the Knitblog Lingo page:
    <a name="KAL">KAL</a>

    Example of a link to the anchor tag; the anchor is on the URL: http://knitswithasilentk.blogspot.com/2007/03/knitblog_lingo.html:
    <a href="http://knitswithasilentk.blogspot.com/2007/03/knitblog_lingo.html#KAL">KAL</a>

    Looks like:

  • Bulleted or Numbered Lists
    These are created with the ol tag (for ordered lists, i.e., numbered) or with the ul tag for bullets. Inside the ol or ul tag, use the li tag for each element. The numbering will be automatic. Closing li elements is usually forgiven (that is, nothing bad will happen), but you should try and remember to do it anyway.

    Example: Here is my list:

    <li>This is the first element</li>
    <li>Close tags are optional with li.
    <li>But you still need the open tag for each element.
    It doesn't matter whether you start a new line or not.

    <li>This is a numbered list.</li>
    <li>I prefer to close tags whenever possible. I'm anal like that.</li>

    Looks like:

    • This is the first element

    • Close tags are optional with li.
    • But you still need the open tag for each element.
      It doesn't matter whether you start a new line or not.

    1. This is a numbered list.

    2. I prefer to close tags whenever possible. I'm anal like that.

  • Links that open in a new window

    If you want to give your readers a link, but want it to open in a new window, then all you do is add a target="_blank" attribute to the anchor tag.


    <a href="http://knitswithasilentk.blogspot.com/2007/03/knitblog_lingo.html#KAL" 

    It looks the same:
    KAL, but click it and see what happens.

    What if you don't want a link to open in a new window? If you are using a browser that supports tabbed browsing, right click on the link and you can open it in a new tab.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More stash enhancement

My church has an annual fundraising event, and last year we went for the first time. I saw that some of the auction items were fun fur scarf and hat sets, and I immediately thought, "I could make those! I could make something better!"

I had seen an Online Linie 194 Ruffle scarf at a LYS in my in-laws town, but didn't get a chance to fully investigate. So when The Yarn Harlot blogged about making one, and said they were easy and fast, I knew I was on to something.

I ordered two colorways from Fuzzy Mabel. They were shipped quickly, and included a note about the color. The one on the right is black/purple, but the one on the left is "navy/blue/sky" - as you can see, it's a turquoise color of sky. Well, the note said that if I didn't like the color, she'd send me a postage paid envelope to return it and she'd send me another color if I wanted.

I think it's just fine, seeing as I didn't need sky-colored yarn. But it was really nice, I thought, that the person behind Fuzzy Mabel cared so much. It was my first time shopping there, and I just wanted to share my experience - they certainly deserve more business. The yarns were also shipped in a plastic bag with one of those handles that snap the bag closed - very handy!

The original pattern (pdf) calls for 4 balls, but some blogs report that a nice scarf can be had for only 2, so I bought 3 of each color. At $10.25/ball (free shipping from Fuzzy Mabel through July!), I thought 4 was a bit excessive for a fundraiser - with labor being free and all. The key is to fetch more money for the scarves than they actually cost - otherwise, I could just donate the money instead.

So I'm looking forward to some mindless knitting. Maybe I'll even get more for Christmas presents, as the Harlot suggests....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Knitting Book stash enhancement

KnitPicks order
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Alas, I'm left to buy things to show for my blog! ;)

I took advantage of the 40% off book sale at Knit Picks and got some patterns that were quick and easy for babies - so many friends and acquaintances are having little ones, and I can't make a sweater for all of them!

Here we have 50 Baby Bootees to Knit, Itty-Bitty Hats, and (not for the babies, for me) Folk Shawls, and (for the free shipping, and to give me some yarn to work with for trying out these baby patterns) some Shine Sport, currently my favorite baby yarn. It's a cotton/modal blend, machine washable and dryable, really soft, and comes in great bright colors. Like buttah!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ocean views

Coon Creek Beach, MdO
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
The Sweetie and I went on a trail this weekend that opened up recently (last weekend). It featured a beautiful beach, caves, and views of a kelp forest with a whole lot of otters!

I am almost done with the secret project -- only a little longer before the big reveal. I also worked 6 more rows on my Mystery Stole - still on clue 2!

My knitting group met yesterday for the last time with K, who is moving this week to Oklahoma City. We'll miss you!

Friday, July 20, 2007

ECF: Viola

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
The flower kind! I planted some violas a few years ago in a birdbath (a measure to avoid standing water in the yard, to discourage mosquitoes and West Nile virus). Last year, I found in abandoned, empty pots, some viola plants! They must have seeded themselves. I love volunteer plants! And yesterday I took this photo with the macro lens on. It could make a pretty notecard!

I hope to get some more rows onto my Mystery Stole this weekend. It's pretty optimistic, though, to wish to finish clue 2!

Have a good weekend, wherever you are!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

love thursday

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Today, I'm taking a page from she knits shizknits and making a list of things I am loving this week.

  • The Sweetie, for being extra comforting while I was under the weather this week, and for watching TV by himself (well, with the cat) while I went to bed early.

  • The vigor with which my tomato plant is growing. I have never seen tomato blossoms this big!

  • My improved ability to take close-up macro photos.

  • The ability to walk on the beach from work. The sand blowing in my eyes and mouth, not so much. But the views! Loving them.

  • My car's mechanics, who figured out how to make my car stop beeping the horn whenever it was locked or unlocked. Now I can unlock it in the early morning or late at night without bugging the neighbors.

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More scenes from my summer vacation

Still no knitting, so you get more travelogue!

One of our vacation days, we went to Virginia City, NV. Quite a place to go, to imagine people choosing to come there to find their fortune. It's a barren, desert place, and has the feel of the old West. We saw a hokey show that guaranteed gunfighting and gunslinging. It was a pretty entertaining show, actually. We also stopped in some of the famous saloons, most of which are now operating small casinos. My favorite thing was the tour of a mine in the back of a saloon. It was just plain cool being in a real mine shaft!

Gotta love Nevada!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pretty picture

Elephant Head
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
...to distract you from noticing the lack of knitting content. Ah, well, it happens to the best of us. Not much knitting. Last night I felt rather out of sorts (the Sweetie contends it was all day) so I went to bed immediately after dinner and slept until this morning.

This flower is called Elephant Head, because at close range each flower has a petal that sticks out like an elephant's trunk. Another new flower I saw on our hike to Lake Winnamucca. I took a bazillion ginormous number of wildflower photos, thinking I could put together a photographic wildflower identification guide of my own. Hmmm....need to identify some more flowers, then. Like, most of them.

Want to help me identify Sierra wildflowers? Click here and comment if you know the flower.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lake Winnamucca

Lake Winnamucca
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
More Tahoe photos today. While I did get a bit of knitting done this weekend, I only made about 4 rows of progress on MS3 (clue 2) and a secret project. I know, everyone hates secret projects. Better not to have mentioned it at all. =)

This is Lake Winnamucca. The hike to it from Carson Pass is known affectionately in the Sweetie's family as the "wildflower hike". This year it was especially good, owing to the dry winter. Usually some of the wildflowers are out when we do this hike, but because of the dry year, the wildflower schedule was moved up and I saw more varieties than I ever have before!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another bonus post!

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
R..., a friend IRL, tagged me for the 5 (or 7, or 8) weird things meme. Since I've already done the requisite amount, I'll just point you here.

I'm not going to tag anyone again, but if by some slim chance you haven't done it, and you want to do this one, consider yourself tagged. ;)

But feel free to stop by R...'s blog and wish her and her sweetie happiness as they anticipate collecting their little boy from Taiwan!

Bonus post!

Just for laughs, The Sweetie sent me this comic with the subject line "Knitters are everywhere...."

Tank McNamara, July 13, 2007.

ECF: Lake Tahoe

I am rather proud that this photo captures the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe and also the cool wave pattern. The lake was so smooth the day we boated over to Emerald Bay! Mount Tallac is in the near distance; the telltale "cross" shape is not all there this year, due to reduced snowpack.

I'm only 6 rows into clue 2 of MS3, but today clue 3 was released! As predicted, I'm behind. But I've already met my only goal related to this (besides finishing it...eventually), which was to not be behind for clue 1!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Present!

Present from Kathy B
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I had some nice mail coming back from vacation. I helped Kathy B of Irisheyes make her first outgoing links from her blog, and to thank me, she sent me this sweet frog button and this baggie of cute candy. Can you guess what it is? She had asked me if I liked peanut butter (I do), and these are pink Reese's Pieces-like candy! It is way too easy to just toss a bunch in your mouth at the same time! (The Sweetie reports that it is possible to swallow them whole, like Advil, but that it's not as tasty that way...)

Thank you, Kathy!

Just for you, Debby, a picture. This is the Taylor Creek estuary, where it (almost) reaches Lake Tahoe.

Taylor Creek

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Vacation startitis

I basked in the long days with hours available for knitting - in between hiking, boating, and socializing on the beach. I had brought 3 of my 12 balls of Berrocco Ultra Silk, which I purchased when the Bustalong ended from the WEBS Anniversary Sale. One of the local shops has it and I always stopped to pet it, so as a treat to myself I got what I figured was a sweater's worth. My first impulse was to try and knit Josephine from the latest Interweave Knits, but try as I might, the gauge just wouldn't work out. I hadn't realized that the pattern called for fingering-to-sport-weight, and I just wasn't going to knit it on a size 3 needle - it didn't drape well, and it was too tight.

But just a few page flips later landed on the Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke, and wouldn't you know, at my favorite size needle (I had done 3 swatches in 3 sizes, goody-two-shoes me) I was spot on gauge. Stitches per inch and row gauge too! Unbelievable. I did another mini-swatch of the yoke pattern, and it looked good.

Problem was, I knew I wanted to modify the pattern to fit me. I am so short waisted that pretty much my natural waist falls just below my bust and part of the point of making sweaters for yourself is making them to fit. So, I'm committed for this sweater to do knitty math (I can't believe I was a math major and resistant to this) and figure it out.

I won't bore you with the long story, but I had several tries before the latest iteration which is what I think is about right. But it's resting right now because I mistook the stitch count you want to end up with, and the repeat is 12 stitches long.

By the way, anyone out there want to weigh in on negative ease? I measure pretty close to a 40" bust but I felt that making the 40" size would make it baggy or droopy. But I don't want to have obvious stretching in the sweater in the bust area. I pulled 10% negative ease out of my head and I think that was for socks. However, using those numbers is getting what I think is a pretty good shape for the hip/waist area. I'm just not so sure about the bust area.

Oh, and I might have started some other lace, bringing my complicated charted lace WIP count to 3, a direct and unabashed violation of my rule to have only 1 such project in progress. But what could I say? The yarn screamed Lake Tahoe to me, and so I had to knit it a bit on the beach. Mountain stream scarf, Artfibers Tsuki (silk 40%/superkid mohair 60%), size 4 KP Options needles.

Mountain stream scarf started

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FO: Garterlac dishcloth

I actually got to finish this dishcloth on the drive up to Tahoe. It was super fun and I really did mostly internalize how the squares and triangles got put together. I really like how it turned out, especially in the variegated color of the dishcloth cotton.

The cabin's linens got taken home at the end of last season, and were forgotten, so this dishcloth got pressed into service right away! The garter stitch really makes for good scrubbing! Even The Sweetie commented that while it wasn't really worth the amount of time I put into it, it was a darn good dishcloth.

Here it is resting after its first day of work:

Garterlac dishcloth - action shot

Monday, July 9, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

I'm back! It was a wonderful week in South Lake Tahoe - wonderful news that the fire was over, clear skies and sunny weather. There were signs everywhere thanking the firefighters. There weren't very many tourists, a combination of the Wednesday holiday and the fire.

I had free reign to sit and knit. I finished Mystery Stole #3 clue 1 after cast-on Saturday and marathon sessions on Sunday and Tuesday. And I have lots more knitting and scenery to show you! But today, just this, as I'm trying to catch up on all your blogs too!